Three patent applications made by Apple were published on Thursday, covering technologies including haptics, fingerprint recognition and RFID.
The haptic feedback patent, if approved, would bring the iPhone (and possibly other Apple devices) in line with rival handsets, which already provide localised tactile feedback in, for example, an on-screen soft keyboard.
The fingerprint recognition patent is not really to do with authentication and security, but rather for identifying which fingers are in use, so as to associate different functions with different digits.
The RFID reader patent would see RFID-communicating circuitry integrated with the circuitry behind the touchscreen itself.
All the above are just applications, though, so it could be a long while before we see any of this functionality built into iPhones or other Apple devices.